Disclosure: I received this book for review courtesy of Big Honcho Media
Thanks to the fine folks at Big Honcho Media, I have 3 hardcover copies of NUM8ERS by Rachel Ward to giveaway to 3 winners! Details below.
Ever since she was child, Jem has kept a secret: Whenever she meets someone new, no matter who, as soon as she looks into their eyes, a number pops into her head. That number is a date: the date they will die. Burdened with such awful awareness, Jem avoids relationships. Until she meets Spider, another outsider, and takes a chance. The two plan a trip to the city. But while waiting to ride the Eye ferris wheel, Jem is terrified to see that all the other tourists in line flash the same number. Today's number. Today's date. Terrorists are going to attack London. Jem's world is about to explode!
I think the basic idea behind this book is brilliantly simplistic: a girl who knows the date of anyone’s death the moment she looks them in the eye. But the questions that her ability raises are significantly more complex. Would you want to know when your number was up? Would you tell someone else their deathdate? Could you change it? Would you try if you could?
“Shut up, Spider!” He looked a bit crestfallen. “Come on, you soft git, that sounds cool. Let’s get on with it.” –Opening line of Num8ers
This story is set in London and all the characters are British. There is just enough slang and British terminology used to remind readers that they are across the pond without hitting them over the head with the British flag.
It did take me a few chapters to really become invested in this story. Initially the characters of Jem and Spider seemed like such a mess that it was hard to expect any kind of turnabout in their lives. They were hard, understandably jaded, and apathetic enough that I was ready to agree with them and write them off along with the rest of the world.
Obviously, I had a change of heart (see my rating). I think it was because, like the character of Jem, as the story progressed, I was given more and more access into Jem's psyche and slowly understood the reasons and motives behind her actions. And as Jem began to open up to life and those around her, I opened up to Jem; I cared about her, rooted for her other, anguished along side her, and even identified with her in a small way.
Spider, on the other hand, was a slightly harder sell: He’s a criminal, he does drugs, he has a somewhat violent temper, and he literally stinks. I didn’t see any possible way for author Rachel Ward to turn Spider into someone I would want Jem to like. And yet, with each chapter, I found myself seeing beyond his somewhat unpleasant exterior to the loyal, selfless, and very likeable guy he was on the inside.
The ending was one that I'm sure will garner a lot of attention and debate. I won't spoil anything by saying that it was not at all the ending I expected, but in hindsight, I think it was the perfect way to end this story...that is until the sequel comes out. Overall, Num8ers is a unique and compelling paranormal thriller with a simple yet poignant premise sure to please readers of all stripes.
YA Warning: Drug use, drug dealing, death from drug overdose.
Sexual Content: A very brief, non graphic sex scene
My Rating (out of 5):
Click HERE to visit the book’s website and to read chapter 1 of Num8ers
- Reading level: Young Adult
- Hardcover: 336 pages
- Publisher: The Chicken House; 1 edition (February 1, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0545142997
- ISBN-13: 978-0545142991
3 hardcover copies of NUM8ERS by Rachel Ward courtesy of Big Honcho Media
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